It was as close to the perfect day as you could get. We sat there, just me and her, licking our ice cream cones, watching folks as they drove into the square. People walked the street, moving in and out of open shop doors, kids dashed ahead of their parents, only to stop and glance back to make sure they were still in tow. It was mid-day and just warm enough to not need a jacket. We sat there in companionable silence, only speaking when something funny or out of the ordinary caught our attention.
As I sat there with my oldest girl, I thought to myself – “I am so glad I said “yes” to this moment.”
Sitting there I recalled a conversation I had with her just a few weeks prior.
She came to my room, plopping down on my bed. I could tell she had a lot on her mind – Final senior year classes, her part-time job, sports, ACT’s, SAT’s, College applications, travel plans, summer plans, finances, friends – So much too do, so many things to consider and decisions to make. I could tell she was overwhelmed.
“Mom, what do I do?” “How do I decided” What if I make the wrong choice?” – The questions came fast and furious and I prayed that God would give me wisdom in that moment. Senior year can be stressful, with a million and one decisions to make. But I knew this was just the beginning for my young girl. Every season of life holds a thousand and one of these same questions and all those questions demand an answer. A yes or a no.
As we worked through her questions I knew this was an opportunity to pass on a life lesson I had been working on in the last few years.
“Sweetheart, you have to realize that you only have so many “yes’s” to give – and if you give too many “yes’s” away, then you’ll burn yourself out and make yourself sick. The key is deciding what and who to give those “Yes’s” too. Which ones, at the end of the day, really matter the most to you?”
“Once you decide what your “Yes’s” need to be then the rest of your list become “No’s” for right now, no matter how good or great they are.”
It was a lesson I learned the hard way. A few years ago I kept giving out “Yes’s” and ultimately burned myself out to the point that I became sick and deeply depressed. I had given away to many of my valuable yes’s to a lot of good thing but not necessarily the right things.
In the end, my health, my family and my relationships suffered.
Now on this side of that dark season I am so much more careful about the “Yes’s I give. I evaluate how many healthy “Yes’s” I can give in a day, a week, a month and in a year. Once I have decided what my limit is, I say “No” to everything else. Margin in life has become deeply important to me.
One of the Yes’s for me was this trip with my girl. This trip that found us eating ice-cream and people watching in a bustling little town seven hours from home. Sure, there’s plenty of stuff on my to-do list and a business on hold for a few days – But it’s a “Yes” I don’t regret giving. This time with my girl. With my book loving girl. Who loves browsing small town shops and people watching as much as I do.
3 Reasons To Manage The “Yes’s” In Your Life
Because Relationships Matter: At the end of the day the”Yes’s” you give directly effects the relationships that matters most to us – for good or for bad. You have the power to decide which it will be.
Your Health Will Thank You: Often, when we give away to many of our “Yes’s” our health suffers. Stress mounts, exercise decreases, bad eating increases and before we know it we have sacrificed one our our greatest assets – our health. Without health we can not go and do as we are called too. It pays to manage our “yes’s for the good of our health and for those we love and serve.
You Can Actually Accomplish More: Believe it or not, you can accomplish more by managing your “yes” moments. When your not pulled in so many directions, the things you have on your plate get done in a more timely manner and often with better results. Quality over quantity matters.
Remember – It matters who and what we give our “Yes’s” too. Are you giving too many of your “Yes’s” away? What do you need to say “No” to in this season?
If so, what is one thing you can do today to reclaim some of those “Yes” moments and create healthy margin in your life?
I think I can confidently say that we all long to find balance in life. I know I do. When I was a young mom and just starting out on my entrepreneur journey I thought I knew what balance was supposed to look like.
Unfortunately, what I thought balance should look like and the reality of my life did not always line up. Every had that experience?
For years it bugged me. You see I’m a detailed person. I like my list and all my ducks in a row. I get satisfaction when my office and my home run well. You know, projects on time, happy clients, happy kids, happy hubby, dishes that are done and laundry magically hung neatly in the closet. I love a well ordered life.
For years I thought that balance meant all the areas of my life deserved my equal and undivided attention. But then an area would get hijacked and my previously well balanced life titled sideways and now hung crooked and out of whack. The tension I felt in trying to make everything work was frustrating.
I thought it was me. That somehow I was just really bad at this balance thing.
That was until I had my perspective altered in 2016.
Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy released a book called “Living Forward.” I was already a fan of Michael’s work and was excited for this new book. There were many challenges in this book that changed how I started approaching life. However, in regards to balance it was this particular paragraph that stopped me.
“We fool ourselves if we think balance means giving equal attention to everything in our lives. Balance only happens in dynamic tension. Balance is giving not equal but appropriate attention to each of the various categories of your life.” ( Daniel Harkavy – Living Forward )
Maybe you’ve figured this out long ago, but for me it was a whole new way of embracing this idea of balance.
Instead of trying to balance everything equally I now approach the things on my plate by asking these 3 questions:
Is this something that should be on my plate right now?
If the answer to question 1 is yes, then how much appropriate attention will this realistically take from me in this season?
Am I ok with the tension this is going to create? If so, how do I handle that tension in a health way in order to stay in balance?
Maybe you’ve had the same myth of balance like I did – thinking everything on your plate needs your equal attention. Instead I challenge you to look at the things on your plate right now. All of it. Family, Self, Business, Relationships, Community activities. Are all those things getting the appropriate amount of attention they need in this season? If not, why? Is it because there is too much on the plate? If so, what needs to go from that list?
Take some time to sit down and answer these things honestly. Remember, we are meant to thrive not just survive this life. That is my hope for you!
Today I have the wonderful privilege of guest posting forDr. Laurel Shaler. Recently we meet through a mutual women’s group and right away I could see, from reading her blog, that our hearts are much the same. We both desire to help those who have been wounded by this life, to find healing and wholeness.
A bit about Laurel – “As a counselor, professor, social worker, speaker, and writer, Laurel Shaler’s goal is to live out the words of Isaiah 61:1-3. To proclaim good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, to release prisoners from darkness, to comfort all who mourn, to bestow joy, and to help others becomes oaks of righteousness as they reach out to others who are hurting.”
It’s not easy for those of us who have lived it, and for those of us who have loved someone going through it. It’s a tough conversation to have, and yet, as I look at the world around us the need cries out. People are hurting, wounded and in despair. Every day we lose people to depression, either physically, emotionally or spiritually. These kind of conversations allow us to start doing something about those losses. To address how depression really effects all of us. To talk about Hope in the midst of it all.
It was the look of terror etched across his face that first caught my eye. He sat paralyzed, barely able to speak, clutching the horn of the saddle with every ounce of strength he had. His fingers wrapped white as he hunched low over the saddle, uttering to his friend. “No, I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.” His friend urged him to just give it a try. “Your perfectly safe. I’m right here. I promise I’m right here.”
Photo Credit jdj150
Again he uttered “No, I don’t want to do this. Please let me get down. Please.” His eyes sought understanding and I recognized that look. The one that says “Please, let me just disappear. Let me go crawl in a hole. Please.”
Again his friend urged him, coaxing him to relax. But fear was winning the round, as his voice raised an octave, he begged to be released from his self imposed prison.
Mere minutes to us, it stretched like an eternity to him. Helping hands reached for him and gratefully he slid from the saddle, darting past the other kids, through the gates of the round pen, heading for the safety of the tack trailer a few hundred yards away.
And my heart broke for him. Because I’ve been there. When fears tentacles wrap their unrelenting fingers around your heart and mind.
I followed him, hoping to offer a word or two of encouragement. I found him pacing behind the trailer, hands beating his head, tears streaming down his face, as he relived his failure. “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. I’m so stupid. I can’t do it. I’m too afraid. I will always be afraid”
The week before he had fallen off the same horse. In a moment he had been unceremoniously dumped from his mount. And as his body touched the ground, fear settled as heavy as the cloud of dust around him.
I let him talk it out…and when his words were spent I said “But you did do it. You showed up today. Not only did you show up, you got back on that horse.”
He wasn’t convinced. He was certain that in order to claim courage you have to see the whole ride through. That the small steps didn’t count.
But what he needed to learn was that the small steps do count.
Courage is not born after fear has been defeated, Courage is born while fear is still raging.Courage is found in the small steps. Courage is found in the showing up. Courage is found when you sit astride your fear, arms taunt, fingers wrapped white. Courage is in the living and breathing of those first steps.
What first steps are you struggling to take? Has fear kept you on the ground and out of the saddle?
Friend, may I just tell you that the small steps matter. That if the only thing you can do is get up and dust yourself off, that’s ok. If tomorrow, all you can do is sit in the saddle and yet travel no further than the ring, that’s ok too. Courage is in the showing up. Courage is in the first few steps. The rest will follow in time. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your healing.
Remember….Courage is not born after fear has been defeated, Courage is born while fear is still raging.
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